V&A Director Martin Roth Is Leaving His Post Because of Brexit

Roth announced his resignation today.

V&A Director Martin Roth warned against 'Brexit.' Photo: ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images

Martin Roth, director of V&A in London, has announced his resignation today after years of success in the role following the Brexit vote and the aggressive rhetoric leading up to the referendum in June of this year.

Born in Germany, Roth, who was appointed in 2011, is the world famous institution’s first non-British director. He has shepherded the museum through smash hits such as “David Bowie Is” and “Savage Beauty,” a collaborative exhibition with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on the legendary British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Savage Beauty attracted half a million visitors from 87 countries making it the most successful exhibition in the museum’s history.

According to the Guardian, the V&A confirmed Roth’s resignation today. Ahead of the Brexit vote, Roth was among the many who condemned the language surrounding the referendum, telling DW, “just the thought that we could be ruining everything our parents’ generation achieved—a policy of peace, reconciliation and common thought—is quite a horrible perspective.”

Kate Middleton presents the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize to Martin Roth, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of Matt Dunham/AFP/Getty Images.

Kate Middleton presents the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize to Martin Roth, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Courtesy of Matt Dunham/AFP/Getty Images.

This year, the V&A was awarded the UK’s highest and most generous award in the shape of Museum of the Year, marking its transition into one of the world’s leading institutions. Under Roth’s leadership, the museum has also expanded to include the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, in Scotland, due to open in 2018, and V&A East, billed as a museum for the digital age.

Roth will attend a press viewing of the museum’s new exhibition “1960s: You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70” this coming Wednesday. The board at the V&A will start the search for a replacement with Tim Reeve, his deputy, being tipped for candidacy.

The international nature of the arts means that there are many Europeans working at arts institutions in Britain and vice versa, one can only hope Roth’s decision won’t spark an exodus.


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